The truth is in the facts

Thursday, September 1, 2005

I had a great conversation with an industry executive about an elementary school in California that used RFID tags to ensure that their students didn't leave the grounds, voluntarily or involuntarily. When one of the parents found out that the school was using these tags, they mistook this system of ensuring their children's safety for a "Big Brother"-type action, and thus started legislation to ensure that no one could tag kids in California. And it's very likely that this legislation will impact other RFID applications, as well.
Perhaps the school would have been wiser to offer their system of protection to parents as an option, but that's a moot point now.
What did the parents really think what these tags would, or even could, be used for? Did they think satellites could track their children? Or that anyone other than the school would know where their kids were?
Big Brother is pretty busy with far more important matters than what you or me or even someone's child might be doing.
Then there was the person who talked to me about the cameras in London, explaining how they didn't want these camera networks here in America, even though they were able to identity and capture the bombers as a result of these cameras. What was the real concern here?
Well, she said she was afraid that she might be called to testify if she was located in an area where a crime was committed. But it wasn't the testifying that scared her! It was what if she wasn't supposed to be in that area and thus was caught being somewhere she wasn't supposed to be!
Ya know, your bank can tell you more about you and your life than any RFID tag or any camera could possible reveal. Your bank knows where you spend your time, your money, your likes, your dislikes, who your friends are, what you buy, when, where and how often! I mean how much more intimate and revealing is this? And your home computer can be confiscated if you are under suspicion of a crime and a minute-to-minute transcript of every thought you have ever shared and every site you have surfed through would be available for all to see. And this includes who your friends are and what they may think as well.
Our industry is becoming deeply embroiled in the very serious issues of privacy versus protection. And it's a matter that's going to be heavily debated both now and in the future. Where the true invasions of our privacy exists and do not needs some clear defining. An exceptionally important part of setting policies on these matters is going to center around knowing the truths and facts about all of the issues. Educating people about what really can and cannot be done with technology is tantamount to success. Good decisions cannot be made if you are not informed about "the facts."
Security Systems News and Security Director News are all about the facts. No one is more committed to educating the industry on these facts than we are. But in matters such as this, it's the mainstream population who needs this good information. And unfortunately, our national media is often challenged with the fine balance of presenting truths and winning rating wars. This is not to imply that they throw caution to the wind when reporting on these matters; but they are often just not well educated on the issues. Why? Because they don't know where to get the facts.
So, where does this put you and me? Well, it puts us on the front lines of the war on educating the population about the truths of our technology and our solutions. How you handle this, as an individual or an organization, will be your call. But if you do nothing, the public will mandate how you will protect them in certain situations whether it works or not. Please consider mailing or e-mailing your congressman and local media people copies of good information that will educate them. They need your help.
We here at Security Systems News, and Security Director News are actively pursuing relationships with key political officials in Congress and the Homeland Security Department. We send issues of our publications to our local legislators as well. We speak at national and local events, getting the truths out. National Public Radio is even calling us now to speak on issues that they're discussing on air. This is good. But we need your help too, as we cannot be everywhere. But as a group, we can be. I know your busy but take just a few second to forward good information to folks that can make a difference.